Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sloka 1 and 2

Hari OM to all,

By grace of God we have finished learning Sri Sankara’s Laghu vakya Vritti in our group. Let us proceed to learn Sankaracharya’s another work ‘Vakya Vritti’. This work consists of 53 slokas in the form of discussion between Guru and shishya. In Laghu vakya Vritti, Acharya deals in detail with the Mahavakya ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ while in this work, the import and significance of the Mahavakya, ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ is revealed to us.
We shall follow ‘Vakya Vritti’ translated by Swami Jagadananda and published by RK Mutt for the word meaning and brief explanations that will follow each sloka. May the grace of Guru lead us in learning this work.

Let us start by offering our prayers to the Lord in the form of the first two slokas:


sargasthitipralayahetumachintyashaktiM vishveshvaraM viditavishvamanantamuurtim.h .nirmuktabandhanamapaarasukhaamburaashiM shriivallabhaM vimalabodhaghanaM namaami .. 1..

Pada artha:

Nammami: I bow down
Sri vallabham: to the one who is dear to Sri
Sarga-shiti-pralaya-hetum: who is the cause of the creation, the maintenance, and the dissolution of the universe,
Achintya-shaktim: whose power is inscrutable,
Vishwa-Ishwaram: who is the lord of the universe
Vidita-vishwam: to whom all universe is known
Ananta Murtim: who possess an endless number of forms
Nirmukta-bandhanam: who is perfectly free from all bondages
Apaara-sukha-Ambushareeram: who is an ocean of endless happiness
Vimala-bodha-dhanam: who is pure consciousness unalloyed.

I bow down to that pure consciousness, an unlimited happiness, which is Vishnu, the beloved of Sri, the all knowing Lord of the universe, assuming manifold forms yet berefit of all bondages, possessing an inscrutable power and hence the cause, maintenance and dissolution of the universe.

Acharya starts the work by bowing down to the Lord who is none but the Brahman. That lord who is endless happiness and hence verily bliss, who is the pure consciousness and the Lord who is free from all bondages, to that Lord we bow down. It is the Brahman from which all forms originate, exits and seem to dissolute in, such Lord who is the creator, sustainer and destructor of the entire creation, to that Lord we salute. The endless number of forms which are but that of Lord who is the all pervading, all knower and the controller of all creation, let us offer our prayers to that Lord who but the Self.

The second sloka of Vakya vritti is thus:


yasya prasaadaadahameva viShNurmayyeva sarvaM parikalpitaM cha .itthaM vijaanaami sadaatmaruupaM tasyaa.nghripadmaM praNato.asmi nityam.h .. 2..

Pada artha:
Asmi nityam: always
Pranataha: bow down
Tasyaanghripaadam: to the lotus feet of him
Yasya prasaadaat: by whose grace
Vijaanaami: I know
Sadaa: for ever
Aatymaroopam: the nature of the Self
Ithyam: thus
Ahameva: I myself am
Vishnuhu: the all pervading one
Eva: and that one is me
Cha: and also
Sarvam: everything
Parukalpitam: is superimposed
Mayi eva: on me alone

I always bow down to the lotus feet of my teacher by whose grace I have known for ever that I am Vishnu and that whole of the phenomenal universe is superimposed on me alone.

Guru means the remover of darkness. Darkness here means ignorance. Hence that which removes the ignorance is the Guru; Hence Guru is none other than the Brahman which is the substratum of all the names and forms. As we all have learnt in the stotra

“Guru sakshat para brahma
tasmai Sri guruve namaha”.
Guru is verily Brahman, to such a guru I bow down.

All the forms, be it as a human form or the scriptures that remove this illusory ignorance are but our Guru. Acharaya here says that by the grace of whom, the darkness of ignorance is removed and the ever blissful, all pervading nature of the Self is known, to that Guru, let us always bow down.

‘Vishnu’ means one who is present everywhere. This is none but the Brahman of the Vedas. By the grace of guru, a seeker realizes the true nature of the Self and the nature of the world. That is, the jagat mithyatvam and the Brahma Satyam is known. This world is known to be nothing but an illusion, and the nature of Self is realized as that ever present substratum on which the world is superimposed. To such guru, who is but Brahman by whose grace a seeker knows the nature of Self, let us bow down and offer our salutations before the proceeding to the next slokas.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God


Blogger vedanta said...


Prostrations to all.

Vakya Vritti has two commentaries on it by Ananda giri (the great annotator of Sankara’s bhashyas) and Visweshwara Pandit. The commentary by Ananda Giri is short and to the point whereas the commentary of Visweshwara Pandit is detail and exhaustive.

Vakya Vritti with the above two commentaries and hindi detailed explanation is published from Mahesh Research Institute, Hrishikesh (There is a Sankara mutt named Dakshinamurthy Mutt which is managed by Swami Maheshananda Giri sankaracharya and this institute under the swami’s guidance have published many advaita treasures like Brihadaranyaka Vartika of Sureshwara with anandagiri’s commentary on the same as well as Sankara’s dasha Upanishad bhashyas along with anandagiri’s and other acharyas sub-commentaries). I don’t know whether the books from this institute will be available everywhere but they are available in Chennai.

A few points from the commentary of ananda giri on the below sloka:

“Sarga sthithi pralaya hethu” is the thatastha lakshana of Brahman – and this Brahman is not something which can be guessed out as it has ACHINTYA SHAKTHI (we can very well infer that Sankara is pointing out the power of Maya through the word ACHINTYA). “Sarga Sthithi Pralaya hethu” represents Brahman as the material cause of the world. Then the doubt comes as to whether Brahman is the nimitta or efficient cause or not – this is answered by the word “Vishweswaram and viditavishwam”. He is the Lord of the world which means he is the nimitta kaarana as well as niyaamaka (controller of the world). Even though he is the controller, he might not be knowing everything about the world and hence he cannot be the nimitta kaarana – this objection or doubt is answered by telling that “he knows everything like the potter knows everything about his creation of pot”.

The words till this are giving the thatastha lakshana of Brahman only – the word “Anantha Murthim” gives the svaroopa lakshana of Brahman. Anantha means infinite & Brahman is unlimited and not limited by Desha, Kaala and Vasthu (time, space and causation). This is the same thing which Vidyaranya clearly proves as below:

Na vyaapitvaat deshatho anthah nityatvaat naapi kaalathah

Na vasthutho api antah sarvaatmyaat ananthyam brahmani tridhaa

As Brahman is all-pervading, it is not limited by space – as Brahman is eternal, it is not limited by time – as Brahman is the inner Self of all beings, it is not limited by causation or entities.

The reasons given are pretty clear and it is through anumaana that vidyaranya proves this. The last point of being the inner Self of all beings is accepted by Vaishnava Vedanta schools too as they consider Brahman as the antaryaamin or inner Self or controller of all beings.

Thus Sankara through the word ANANTHA MURTHIM is giving the svaroopa lakshana of Brahman through negating all limitations – when everything else is negated, what remains behind is SAT CHIT ANANDA VASTHU. And since Sankara has used the word of ANANTHA in the sloka, we can assume that he is meaning the other two words of SATYAM and JNAANAM as per Taittiriya Sruthi “Satyam jnaanam anantham brahma”.

This again is made clear by adding the words of “apaara sukha ambu raashim” – Brahman is blissful in nature, that bliss which is unlimited and ever-lasting. Brahman is devoid of all bandhaas seen in the world and that it seems to be having while being the jeeva (this has been clearly explained by Mallika in the translation and explanation).

Brahman’s another lakshana of CHIT is brought out by the word “Vimala bodha ghanam” – pure mass of Consciousness. Sri Vallabha refers to one who is very dear to Lakshmi or Sri – this also means one who is attracted by everyone as everything about him is beautiful and madhuram – we can refer to the beautiful Madurasthakam of Vallabhaacharya where he says that “Madhuraadhipatheh akhilam madhuram” – everything is beautiful about the Lord of beauty…… (the verses are so beautiful and touching).

Since Sri Vallabha also refers to Vishnu or Govinda, Sankara is indirectly prostrating his Guru of Govindapaada too. It is but a tradition that any work is started after prostration to one’s Ishta Devataa and Guru – this is what Sankara does by prostrating to the ultimate reality of Brahman (as Ishta devataa) and to his Guru Govindapaada.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

7:29 AM  
Blogger vedanta said...


Prostrations to all.

Few comments on the below on the sloka 2: JAnandagiri feels that this sloka is very clear and hence doesn’t explain much on this except two points that in “Nityam pranathosmi” NITYA is used to express Sraddha or faith and bhakthi. Anandagiri also considers Guru bhakthi or guru arpana as an antharanga to jnaana (antharanga means inner sadhaana or internal path or internally helpful).

Visweshwara Pandit explains this sloka in depth. The important point in this sloka is the second part of first line which says “Mayi eva sarvam parikalpitham cha” or “in me everything is superimposed”. As Mallika has said, in this part JAGAN MITHYATVAM is clearly brought out and which points to the BRAHMA SATYAM and Brahman as adviteeya vasthu.

Everything that we perceive is nothing but superimposition on the ultimate reality of Brahman – there is nothing apart from Brahman. Since there cannot be anything apart from Brahman (Brahma vyatirekena na kinchit asthi), therefore the jeeva also is nothing but mere imagination or fallacious representation of Brahman (Jeevah brahma vivarthameva – Jeeva is a seeming appearance in Brahman). Therefore Sankara clearly says that everything is a mere imagination in “ME” as Brahman. Even what we call as the jeeva or ego itself is only an adhyaasa on Atman or Brahman – thus
“I” am everything and when this is contemplated, everything vanishes & “I” alone exists as the advaya vasthu.

As Advaita Makaranda beautifully puts it – there cannot be any relation between CHIT or sentient Self and ACHIT or not-Self ---- the only relation possible between both is that of superimposition. Therefore “I” as the substratum of the superimposition am non-dual reality behind the illusory dual world.

ITHAM VIJANAAMI SADAATMA ROOPAM – here Sankara is trying to show that “My nature is Sat always” and that this has to be contemplated or aparoksha jnaana has to be gained by remembering this at all times. Thus the sadhana to realization is mentioned clearly. By just contemplation, there are chances of getting EGO, hence prostrations to the Guru in the form of Brahman (as Mallika has rightly said) is required at all times. This helps in warding off the Ego.

Prostrations to all.



Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

4:02 AM  

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